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US Apologizes Over EU Ukraine ‘Insult’

US Apologizes to EU Over Ukraine 'Insult'i
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February 08, 2014 4:28 PM
Top US diplomat Victoria Nuland has apologized to the European Union after using an expletive to describe what should happen to the EU because of what she considers its passive role in Ukraine. Her comments came in a phone call that was intercepted and posted on the internet in Russia. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

US Apologizes to EU Over Ukraine 'Insult'

Henry Ridgwell
A senior U.S. State Department official, Victoria Nuland, has apologized to the European Union after using an expletive while discussing the EU's diplomatic role in Ukraine's political conflict. Her controversial comment became public in an Internet video of an intercepted phone call. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Assistant Secretary of State Nuland was in Ukraine this week to meet President Viktor Yanukovych and opposition figures, as the standoff there between the government and protesters continues.

In a phone call that was apparently bugged and posted on the Internet, Nuland scoffed at the European Union's position to her colleague, U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt.

“… that would be great, I think, to help glue this thing and to have the U.N. help glue it, and, you know, [expletive - beeped out] the EU,” she said.

  • Anti-government protesters sing the national anthem as they gather at a barricade, central Kyiv, Feb. 19, 2014.
  • An anti-government protester throws a Molotov cocktail during clashes with riot police, Independence Square, Kyiv, Ukraine, Feb. 19, 2014.
  • A woman carries sandwiches as anti-government protesters gather in Independence Square, central Kyiv, Feb. 19, 2014.
  • An anti-government protester stands behind a barricade during clashes with riot police in Independence Square, Kyiv, Ukraine, Feb. 19, 2014.
  • Anti-government protesters gather in Independence Square in central Kyiv, Feb. 19, 2014.
  • A man who was injured during clashes between anti-government protesters, Interior Ministry members and riot police receives medical treatment inside Mikhailovsky Zlatoverkhy Cathedral (St. Michael's golden-domed cathedral), Kyiv, Feb. 19, 2014.
  • Riot police officers spray anti-government protesters with water in Independence Square in central Kyiv, Feb. 19, 2014.
  • Anti-government protesters throw stones towards Interior Ministry officers during a rally, near Parliament, in Kyiv, Feb. 18, 2014.
  • Anti-government protesters throw stones at the office of the pro-presidential Party of the Regions, Kyiv, Feb. 18, 2014.
  • Anti-government protesters escort an unidentified man after attacking an office of the pro-presidential Party of the Regions, Kyiv, Feb. 18, 2014.
  • A woman carries stones during clashes between anti-government protesters and Interior Ministry members, Kyiv, Feb. 18, 2014.
  • Anti-government protesters burn the Party of the Regions flags, calendars and booklets during a rally, Kyiv, Feb. 18, 2014.

Knocking Klitschko

In another excerpt, Nuland appears to suggest one of the Ukrainian opposition leaders, Vitaly Klitschko, should not be included in any future government.

“So I don’t think Klitsch should go into the government. I don’t think it’s necessary. I don’t think it’s a good idea,” she said.

The assistant secretary of state later apologized to the EU but declined to answer reporters’ questions on the phone call. She did however, describe the apparent bugging as "pretty good tradecraft." U.S. officials have implied Russia may be involved in leaking the recording.

Responding to the leaked remarks, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Nuland’s comment on the behavior of Europeans is unacceptable. He added, "There is no space for criticisms about our conduct regarding Ukraine. Our attitude is very cautious and well thought. There is room for discussion about sanctions, and we are carrying these discussions on."

The protests in Ukraine erupted in November after President Yanukovych pulled out of a trade deal with the EU, opting instead to sign a loan and energy agreement with Russia.

Mixed reaction

Since then, politicians from the United States and the European Union have visited Kyiv several times. The Western allies had appeared to be working in tandem, says Ian Bond of the Center for European Reform, a policy institute in London.

“It seems to me that the EU has actually done a pretty good job in Ukraine so far and that on the whole the EU and the U.S. have worked together quite well. But I suspect that for many American diplomats the problem with the EU is that it works very slowly.”

On the streets of Brussels there was a mixed reaction to the diplomatic dispute.

Resident Fiona Chevalier said that as a European citizen, she feels frustrated. “It saddens me that the United States has such a low image of Europe,” she said.

Brussels resident Marc Botenga said the contempt for the European Union was not a surprise. But, he said, it's not very democratic to discuss what the government of another country should be.

The original Internet posting of the phone call has been traced to Russia.

Moscow denies intercepting the communication. But analysts say the leak will do little to improve the already frosty relations between the Kremlin and the West.

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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: JKF2 from: Great North (Canada)
February 09, 2014 3:46 PM
The bureaucrats of the EU and their head of states have their fingers in every conflict, they stoke people's hopes, and then they abandon them. The situation in the Ukraine is no different than in many other countries in Europe, including countries inside of the EU. Many of these countries are on the edge of economic collapse, most of the unrest observed is caused by economic downturns; we see the sit in Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, Bosnia Herzegovina, etc all of then seating on a very fine knife edge, ready to go over into total collapse, followed by massive social violence. An what is the EU and its bureaucreats doing about it? not much, but propagandizing how good it would be for all of them under the EU membership. The EU should take significant actions to help the poorer countries already in the EU, and stop encouraging more under-developed economically countries to somehow join the EU. The record of the EU in enhancing the economies of poor EU members is very poor. Just look at the poor record of the EU's Bosnia-Herzegovina IC. No wonder many are pointing the finger at the EU, rightly,so, in my view. The EU needs to fix: Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Bosnia Herzegovina, etc.. before the people turn to violence due to lack of work/food/heat/... basic needs.


by: Carnac The Magnificent from: USA
February 08, 2014 4:47 PM
Now the European Union is bitching about that!? What about bugging our diplomats phone? You all raised so much hell about us doing it to you, well this is what you deserve and I agree with our diplomat, and to hell with you as well.

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